UPDATE, Nov. 22, 2021: This story has been updated to note that following its publication, a Fox News source with knowledge of the situation said the network had no intentions of renewing Hayes and Goldberg’s contracts when they expired in 2022. This story and its headlines remain as published.
Calling a Tucker Carlson documentary on January’s Capitol incursion the last straw, two Fox News contributors are walking away from the network.
Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes announced their divorce from Fox on Sunday in a blog post on The Dispatch, a website they created to promote their brand of conservatism.
In a comment to The New York Times, Carlson called their resignations “great news.”
“Our viewers will be grateful,” he said.
Carlson’s documentary “Patriot Purge” was the catalyst for leaving Fox after 12 years, Goldberg and Hayes said in the post.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) November 21, 2021
“The special—which ran on Fox’s subscription streaming service earlier this month and was promoted on Fox News—is presented in the style of an exposé, a hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism. In reality, it is a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions. And its message is clear: The U.S. government is targeting patriotic Americans in the same manner —and with the same tools—that it used to target al Qaeda,” Goldberg and Hayes wrote.
“This is not happening. And we think it’s dangerous to pretend it is. If a person with such a platform shares such misinformation loud enough and long enough, there are Americans who will believe—and act upon—it.”
Their post said Fox News still does some “real reporting,” but they add that the “voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible.”
With a dig at former President Donald Trump, however, Goldberg and Hayes bemoaned what they claim was a change for the worse at Fox News.
“Over the past five years, some of Fox’s top opinion hosts amplified the false claims and bizarre narratives of Donald Trump or offered up their own in his service. In this sense, the release of Patriot Purge wasn’t an isolated incident, it was merely the most egregious example of a longstanding trend. Patriot Purge creates an alternative history of January 6, contradicted not just by common sense, not just by the testimony and on-the-record statements of many participants, but by the reporting of the news division of Fox News itself,” they wrote.
“It’s basically saying that the Biden regime is coming after half the country and this is the War on Terror 2.0,” Goldberg said. “It traffics in all manner of innuendo and conspiracy theories that I think legitimately could lead to violence. That for me, and for Steve, was the last straw.”
Goldberg said Fox News no longer was what he wanted it to be.
“Whether it’s ‘Patriot Purge’ or anti-vax stuff, I don’t want it in my name, and I want to call it out and criticize it,” Goldberg told The New York Times.
“I don’t want to feel like I am betraying a trust that I had by being a Fox News contributor. And I also don’t want to be accused of not really pulling the punches. And then this was just an untenable tension for me.”
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) November 21, 2021
Carlson said Goldberg and Hayes are out of touch with the times.
“These are two of the only people in the world who still pretend the Iraq war was a good idea,” Carlson wrote to NPR. “No one wants to watch commentary that stupid.”
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